Mrs Green needs your help to avoid food waste!

Filed in Blog by on February 11, 2013 7 Comments
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ham-avoid-food-wasteOver the weekend I invited people to join in with a half term “Use it up!” challenge.

After spending way too much money on food last month I decided it was the perfect week to reign in the expenses.

Little Miss Green will be home for the week, and no doubt friends will visit, so it’s a great time to pull everything that’s hiding at the back of the ‘fridge to the front and create some meals.

We’re now throwing away half of the world’s food – either because we don’t like the look of it, or we buy too much then waste it.

Today I’ve got a bit of a conundrum and I’d love your help!

I bought some ham for Little Miss Green (she’s the only one that eats it here at zero waste towers) to satisfy her “ham salad craving”, but the ham is too salty!

I’d gone out of my way to support a decent brand – it was a family-run farm that was RSPCA monitored, carried the red tractor symbol and used an aged method of curing. But it seems, sadly it was not to LMG’s taste.

With two slices left in the ‘fridge, I need to see if there is a cunning way I can somehow ‘dilute’ the salty taste in a couple of meals this week.

I was thinking of making ham and pineapple pizza; one of her favourites, or making macaroni cheese and adding cut up ham into the sauce – I was thinking the creaminess of the sauce might counteract the saltiness, but I’m just not convinced.

Any tips for success?

Should I soak the ham in water? Are there some wonderful housewifely tricks I’m not aware of that could help?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (7)

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  1. susan says:

    Make a potato/ham/cheese casserole. I cut up and cook potatoes in microwave cooking until they’re tender but not mushy. Dump in greased casserole dish. Cut up ham and sprinkle on top. Make a white sauce without using salt and pour over the top. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar. Bake at 375 until cheese and white sauce bubble. Remember add NO Salt.

  2. about eight or ten minutes before potatoes or pasta are fully cooked, stir in the ham bits or sausage slices…do not salt the casserole or boiling water. if necessary add a sprinkle of sea salt at serving time.

    another tried and true: wash ham slices fast and furiously under warm water to retain most nutrients, then sprinkle with a bit of raw sugar or slather thinly with molasses, bother the meat with a knife or pound the saltiness out of it with a wooden tenderizing hammer, after a few minutes, cook as usual , or simply add to salad or into omelette.

    for a nutritious quick meal; make some thin pancakes or pita wraps, insert ham and swiss cheese, roll,secure with wooden toothpick. bake till golden. 5-10 minutes at 300 degrees. serve with salsa dip or lettuce wedges and vinaigrette.

    PS:FAVE: cooked asparagus or leeks, swiss cheese, white sauce, ham slices.
    lay ham down, cheese slice or grated white cheese, then asparagus spears–roll tightly. secure with toothpick.
    smear olive oil in flat dish, lay the swaddled ‘babies’ side by side, pour white sauce (or use mushroom, chicken or celery soup if hurried) sprinkle grated cheese on top, pop in oven for 20 minutes at 300 ( if still in a hurry, put under broiler at 450 for just 5-10 minutes) to golden goodness. mmm!

    substitutes: sour cream-sweet cream or yogurt as sauce. if no dairy; use green chili sauce, pesto or tapenade of olives and onions, chutney overwhelms the delicate taste of the veges, but excellent for ham.

  3. Those suggestions sound wonderful. I bet the mac ‘n cheese would be great. How about a omelet or pea soup?

  4. Paris Parsa says:

    1. Slice them thin, Saute them and serve on cream cheese and baugette slices. Them make wonderful appetizers.
    2. I sould try to soak one piece in the water and see the result.
    3. Love the Omelet idea!!!
    4. Green bean salad is just yammy woth salty ham.
    5. Let your daugter and friends come up with ideas. They woul definietely eat their own creations.( Fun and no waste).

    Good luck!!!

  5. Anna Pitt says:

    I use up ham or bacon in my version of ‘paella’. Because I don’t use any other salt in the paella it is fine – better even – if the ham or bacon is a bit salty.

    It is worth using paella rice, which I keep as a store cupboard ingredient, and I use home-made stock – either from boiling up the chicken carcass after a Sunday roast, or just boiling up the week’s vegetable peelings. Adding the stock a bit at a time and letting the rice absorb it helps to give a nice consistency and maximum flavour. Then along with the ham, and any left over chicken I add whatever vegetables I have in the fridge. If I don’t have veg left then adding frozen peas is a good emergency veg addition.

  6. David G says:

    I have been using half the salt recipes call for since before reducing salt became a mainstream issue. I love ham and hate it when it’s too salty. Parboiling works. So does adding the ham to various casseroles and sauces and not adding any additional salt. And Kristina, yes. Pea soup with ham is wonderful. Be sure to toss the bone (if any) in the pot for the sake of the calcium and other nutrients that come from the bone and the marrow.

    BTW, I never thought of the way I cook as a “green” issue until I started my own “green” blog. Of course, that means I have to read lots of other green blogs for lots of different reasons. And cooking turns up all over.

  7. Jane says:

    Some hams are definitely a lot saltier than others – bacon too. I used to buy a low salt bacon but hardly ever buy bacon and haven’t seen it recently anyway. We just don’t add salt and avoid ones we’ve found too salty.

    Those ham packets really irritate me. They have a Use By date in big letters on the front and then in very small writing on the back ‘once opened use within 24 hours’ or something similar. Why isn’t this clearly on the front beside the use by date? Because this isn’t clear we have to have government guidelines saying that it is not OK to use it when it is still within the use by date but has been open for longer than 24 hrs or 48hrs or whatever and not kept as per instructions – refrigerated etc etc.

    The packets of ham are also often on offer as 2 for £3 or something similar and you need to be careful as they become rearranged as shoppers (naturally) look for a longer use by date for their second packet.

    This encourages people to buy bigger packets than they can possibly use within the time (as per the hidden or non-existent instructions) encouraging waste.

    You want to have an idea of whatever risks you are taking.

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